WHAT S WRONG WITH CARS?
Cars are often seen as liberating, the symbol of freedom and prosperity. They are a social custom that designates coming of age. They are also one of the greatest threats to the well being of the earth, social equality, and human health.
ECOLOGICAL COSTS OF THE CAR
Motor vehicles are the single biggest source of atmospheric pollution, contributing an estimated 14% of the world s carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning, a proportion that is steadily rising. Add the emissions from exploration, transportation, refining and distribution of fuel, and this figure is 15 to 20 percent of world emissions.
The average American car releases 300 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from a full, 15-gallon tank of gasoline.1
The major source of CFCs (the major cause of the destruction of stratospheric ozone) is motor vehicle air-conditioning in 1987 approximately 48 percent of all new cars, trucks and buses worldwide were equipped with air conditioners. Annually, about 120,000 tones of CFCs are used in new vehicles and in servicing air conditioners in older vehicles. In all, these uses account for 28 percent of global demand for CFC-12.1
Methane (another global warming gas, 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide) is also emitted by cars. The level is quite low, only about 1% of UK emissions, for example. But, the facilitate the annual buildup of methane in the atmosphere- 0.9% carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide interacts and uses up hydroxyl radical in the atmosphere. Hydroxyl methane. Emissions of carbon monoxide increase global warming by removing a defense against the buildup of methane.1
THE CAR AND SOCIAL EQUALITY
The car, and the oil it uses has always had a dubious role in maintaining social inequality, from Henry Ford s anti-Semitism2 to the Gulf War(s?) and the fight of indigenous peoples against drilling in their native lands.3
Better known for the invention of the assembly line (the capstone in America s Industrial revolution another thing that created vast inequality) Henry Ford was an unrepentant anti-semite who published a newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. The Independent published a series of articles that later became a book titled The International Jew The World s Foremost Problem. In March of 1923 the Chicago Tribune interviewed Hitler and when asked what he thought of Henry Ford s possible bid for president, Hitler had this to say I wish I could send some of my shock troops to Chicago and other big American cities to help in the elections.
We look on Heinrich Ford as the leader of a growing fascist movement in America. We admire particularly his anti-Jewish policy which is the Bravarian fascist platform. We have just had his anti-Jewish articles translated and published. The book is being circulated to millions throughout Germany. 4
Recently oil companies have faced resistance to their practices of invading native lands and destroying habitats for profit. The most well known resistance had been that of the Ogoni people of Nigeria s Delta, against Shell Oil. By leasing the land from an undemocratic militaristic regime, Shell Oil is directly affecting the environmental well being of the land and the further repression of its people.3
The United States is again preparing to go to war with Iraq and the circumstances are often hazy. Two things that cannot be ignored (but commonly is by the media) is that Iraq holds the world s second largest oil reserves5 and that up to 90% of its barrels of oil per day are going to US Gulf Coast refineries.6 Therefore the United States, while claiming saintly prerogatives in war build-up, has a definite financial stake in controlling what happens with Iraqi oil and the political make-up of that country.
Estimates of road fatalities worldwide vary massively, between 500,0007, 880,0008 and 1.17 million9 people die on the roads every year- 10 million are estimated to be injured.
Forecasts indicate that by 2030 this will have risen to 2 million deaths a year, and 50 million injuries.10 The cumulative death total in the period 1995-2030 is estimated to be 50 million. Globally, accidents produce about 800,000 permanently handicapped people per year.10
In the U.S., the American Lung Association estimate that between 10,000 and 24,000 people die each year as a result of traffic related air pollution.10 The work of epidemiologists and public health specialists in the U.S. and U.K. indicate that up to 60,000 Americans and 10,000 British are killed each year as a result of particulate pollution.10
Two of over a 1,000 pollutants emitted from cars Tetraethyl Lead added to fuel to increase the output power of the engine. Effects it is extremely toxic and can affect almost any organ of the body. Low-level exposure over a long period most commonly affects the nervous system and blood. Can impair the mental abilities of children. 7 out of 10 children in Mexico City have had their development stunted by lead poisoning from cars.1
Cars are the major source of carbon monoxide, accounting for over 65 percent of emissions in OECD countries. Effects one of the most directly toxic substances, it affects human health by impairing the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood causing impaired perception, slowing reflexes and
drowsiness. It can increase occurrence of headaches and effects the central nervous system, the heart and the transference of blood around the body. In large doses, it is fatal.1
Conclusions are your own to make, but they need to be based on relevant information and thoughtful consideration. They should not come from one handout or flyer, a commercial or an opinion. The purpose of this handout is to make known the costly affects the author sees cars having on the well being of all people and the earth. In addition to the wast of resources (if they are to be known as such), the cost to the environment, political freedom, and humyn health, cars wast time through traffic jams, separate people from one another, create isolationist mindsets, promote consumptive culture, take up space, mow down forests for parking lots and freeways, and are rather ugly to look at. Bicycles, public transportation and other forms of alternative locomotion are less costly, healthier and are fun as hell. Bus Bike Skate Create.
(1) The Environmental Impact of the Car, Greenpeace International, 1991. ISBM 871532 361.
(2) Power, Ignorance, and Anti-Semitism Henry Ford and His War on Jews. by Jonathan R. Logsdon http //history.hanover.edu/hhr/99/hhr99_2.html
(3) Ogoni and Oil. Trade and Environment Database http //www.ameri can.edu/TED/OGONI.HTM
(4) Chicago Tribune, 8 March 1923, 2
(5) United States Energy Information Administration, Iraq http //www. eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/iraqfull.html
(6)Trading With the Enemy U.S. Refiners Reportedly Buying Most of Iraq s Oil By John K. Cooley ABC news http //abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/iraq/10720_cooley.html
(7) BBC Report 1998 figures
(8) Global Road Safety Partnership, 1999 figures. http //www.i-connect. ch/grsp/grspdev/problem.htm
(9) US State Department quoting WHO figures http //travel.state.gov/road safety.html
(10) Lost in Concrete An Activists Guide to European Transport Policies, A SEED Europe, 1996, ISBN 90-75840-01-2. Available for purchase via Car Busters Resource Centre.
A great deal of the information was compiled in the statistics section of Car busters website http //www.carbusters.org/freesource/stats.php